March 2, 2018

Maritime firms launch digital supply chain management portals

Evergreen, Kuehne + Nagel say online tools to improve data transfer and transparency for importers, exporters.

By DC Velocity Staff

Transportation and logistics firm Evergreen Line and freight forwarding and logistics giant Kuehne + Nagel International AG have launched digital supply chain management portals as part of what is expected to be an ongoing effort by ocean carriers and forwarders to incorporate digital tools into a business model that sorely lacks them.

Evergreen announced Thursday it has teamed with British global trade provider Bolero International Ltd. to expand its online portal with paperless bill of lading and dispatch documentation tools. Evergreen said it is the first container line to integrate with Bolero's electronic bill of lading (eBL) product, which the carrier will use to improve connections between shippers and beneficial cargo owners (BCO) and banks, insurers, regulators, customs offices, and port authorities, Evergreen said.

The partnership will expand the users of Bolero's eBL platform from bulk cargo trades and initial container-based transactions to a wider community of container shippers and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs), Bolero CEO Ian Kerr said in a statement. NVOCCs are licensed entities that buy space aboard steamship lines and resell it to their customers. NVOCCs book the freight under their own bill of lading (B/L), and act as the carrier to their customers.

Evergreen will use its existing ShipmentLink online portal to offer the intelligent i-B/L and i-Dispatch services. The paperless data exchange tools will help to lower shippers' costs while making data transfer more accurate, efficient, reliable, and secure, according to Evergreen. The tools can also help users avoid the delays that can occur when a vessel arrives at a port before its paper bill of lading material, making it difficult for importers to pick up cargo on a timely basis, the firm said.

Separately, Kuehne + Nagel unveiled a digital collaborative platform that the firm says will help its international supply chain customers to improve their supplier reliability and product availability. Known as KN ESP, the platform is a cloud-based supply chain management tool that will connect international supply chain customers with their vendors, their buyers and sellers, their cargo flows, and Kuehne + Nagel's physical assets and experts, the Swiss firm said.

KN ESP will use predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to prioritize orders and transportation decisions based on each customer's defined business rules, according to the company.

Kuehne + Nagel said the platform is part of a strategy to expand its portfolio of digital tools and to improve supply chain transparency and collaboration for its clients, according to a statement by Otto Schacht, member of the managing board of Kuehne + Nagel, responsible for Seafreight.

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